Transforming the office

I had the pleasure of attending the new office opening for one of our leading clients, a PVB manufacturer for the glass industry, Everlam in Mechelen, Belgium. The new office is state of the art; they have combined the R&D innovation centre with the technical and corporate teams in one space. The building is impressive which provides employees with a modern, well-equipped and stimulating environment to foster innovation and business development.

Everlam had a keynote speech by leading architect John Eyers, CEO of Jasper-Eyers Architects who’s portfolio of high profile clients from the BeNeLux region and around the world. John’s presentation covered the use of glass in transforming office spaces to get the best outcome for the business and employees which made me think, ‘are all companies utilising their workspaces to the best of their ability when thinking about talent attraction and retention?’

John identified that the traditional function of an office or workspace historically, was a single function whereas recent trends in the industry are about multi-use spaces and functionality. He also identified that workplaces are no longer purely functional however there is a need to create environments where employees WANT to come to and work. On my travels to client offices around the globe, I have experienced a range of workspaces, ranging from small factories in isolated regions with traditional functional spaces, through to major corporations’ offices in major international cities with views as far as the eye could see. All were different. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job!

Office

As a brand ambassador for our clients when attracting talent, we encourage our clients to open their doors and show off their workspaces, not just to the candidates being considered but also to the search consultancy they are using. I have worked with clients across the globe on supporting them to develop an attractive talent brand as well as guiding them on their USP’s as an employer. Some of these offices have been selling points for the job, others have acted as a deterrent to attracting the best people.

Know your strengths

On average, an employee will be in their place of work for 40+ hours per week, however, more realistically 50-60 hours in the current work climate. Out of 168 hours in a week, 112 hours awake, 56 hours sleeping, 50-60 hours is 40%+ of their week spent in a working environment. Top talent is becoming savvier and more demanding in their job search. By offering a working environment that is attractive the company is one step closer to being the company of choice in their industry.

Gone are the days of offering a “nice office and good pension” in candidate attraction advertisements and expecting a good result. It is time to accentuate the benefits you have or create the benefits you currently do not and communicate how these benefits would impact a candidate if they worked for you.

I am not suggesting that every office acquires a ping pong table and a beer fridge to use as an attraction tool, instead, if the budget is not available to refurbish the entire office from the ground up, or move offices completely, consider small changes that could make a difference such as:

– Repurpose unused space in the environment – if it is not used currently, how can it be used?

– Are your meeting rooms being used all the time, if not can they be utilised for more employee focussed self-improvement projects?

– Open up the office with more light, introducing or replacing low wattage bulbs to something brighter.

– Explore the local area for outdoor facilities like private parks and rooftop gardens and see whether your team can gain access if required through mutual agreements, can they work offsite outdoors at times?

– Freshen up the reception area – how can this space be less functional and more welcoming.

– Update the signage in the environment. Small, cost-effective solutions like freshening up signage could make the environment more professional.

– Remove any broken, worn or depressing furniture so everything is lighter and brighter.

Any good consultancy should be acting as your brand ambassador but you can help them sell your business to the right talent pools and increase your own brand in the market with simple changes which are communicated effectively.

To read more insights from myself and the team at Chad Harrison International, visit the media centre today and to find out how we can help with your talent attraction solutions, contact our expert team today.

About Luke Robbins-Wells

Luke Robbins-Wells is the Managing Director of Chad Harrison International. With over a decade’s worth of senior leadership experience in the executive search and management consulting sectors, Luke is perfectly placed to provide valuable, consultative and above all, honest advice on talent acquisition.

Luke specialises in all areas of heavy industry talent acquisition and has placed technical specialists, senior leaders and C-Suite candidates into global organisations, SMEs and family-owned companies.